Dale Chihuly at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London

Dale Chihuly at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London

Kew Gardens need no introduction from me.

I have been a regular visitor over many years. No visit to London is complete without at least one day at Kew. When I lived in London, I visited Kew almost monthly, so have enjoyed its splendour over all seasons.

What can be more uplifting than a visit to Kew when the snowdrops and crocus appear, to signal that spring is coming. Daffodil and bluebell time provide glorious sweeps of yellow and blue. Cherry blossom time is divine. Every season provides a smorgasbord of beauty.

Dale Chihuly is a Sculptor, working in the medium of glass. I first became aware of Chihuly in 2005, when an exhibition of his work went on display at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. The exhibition was “Gardens of Glass”, and it is true to say that I had never before seen such idiosyncratic beautiful glass art. The riot of colour and the shapes of the various installations transported me to wild places in my imagination.

My favourite installation was the “Thames Skiff” which was floating in the pond in front of the Palm House. It was described as a “19th century type vessel, refashioned into a raucous, drunken boat full of abstract passengers.” I have added this image to my collection of The Ship of Fools.

The Raucous Drunken Boat.

It was with great excitement I discovered Chihuly was mounting an exhibition, “Reflections on Nature” in Kew Gardens in 2019.

Reflections on Nature was as original and innovative as Gardens in Glass. It was difficult to choose a favourite, although the waterlilies were up there.

The temperate house had many wonderful installations, but my favourite would have to be Temperate House Persians, a 9metre sculpture, predominantly blue glass – blue glass being my favourite.

The installation around the flowering cherries, among the tulips was quite spectacular.

Reflections on Nature included some monumental outdoor installations.

The installation, based on seashells, which was indoors, was exquisite. It was very easy to see the seashells in these beautiful glass sculptures.

There were so many more installations which gave me great pleasure, incited my imagination and gave me hope that creativity and beauty will prevail. Dale Chihuly, long may you live to create such beauty.